I'm planning to be a teacher in the future and I'm curious how much I will be forced to hide my atheism. Has anyone experienced a negative result from being open about their position on religion? Positive stories are welcome as well.
As an elementary teacher, I find it hard sometimes (especially when a student begins to proselytize in the classroom) to NOT share my beliefs. Although I do look at it as a benefit to my kids - because I understand how important nonbelief is to me, I can also understand how important belief is to my students. I often (several times a year) have to have a discussion with a student about how important their own beliefs are - TO THEM - and that to be respectful of others' beliefs we need to recognize that ours are so very often different than others'. It's a balancing act - but one that you have to perform every day in every other aspect of education as well.
Don, I'm lucky that I work in a pretty mainstream school, at least where religion is concerned. "Mainstream" meaning there's a good mix of faiths - I even had a student this year (5th grader) who claimed (very bravely, I might add) that he didn't believe in god. I hated that I couldn't tell him I agreed with him, because I didn't want the other kids questioning my beliefs or their parents', or running to their parents to tell them I was "godless" or whatever. I gave him the same speech that I gave my preacher's son student - that your faith is important to you and you need to decide what to believe on your own.